Made in America, Headed for London: The U.S. Businesses Behind the Olympic Games
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The 2012 Summer Olympics begin this weekend in London, and 530 U.S. athletes are poised to compete in two weeks of games that will captivate audiences worldwide. Several U.S. businesses are playing an important part in London—not as competitors, but as manufacturers of specialized equipment made in America.
Though many iconic global corporate brands are highly visible at the Olympic Games, there are a number of smaller, less known companies having a direct impact on the games themselves, and in some cases, the performances of the athletes. These businesses are showcasing American enterprise, innovation, and manufacturing prowess in London for all the world to see.
Outfitting the Athletes
The U.S. gymnastics team is one of the most watched during the summer games. Since 1989, GK Elite Sportswear in Reading, Pennsylvania has designed and manufactured gymnastics leotards for Team USA. In addition to supplying U.S. athletes in London, the company’s leotards will also be worn by teams from eight other countries.
The U.S. company TYR Sports is also sending athletic gear to London. The California company was founded in 1985 by Olympic athletes, and in this year’s games, U.S. triathletes are competing in high-tech carbon technology uniforms engineered by TYR.
Flooring the Competition
For nine consecutive Olympic Games, Gerflor, a Bensenville, Illinois company, has provided specialized sports flooring for numerous indoor events. Their patented Taraflex flooring will be used for the handball and volleyball tournaments this year. Also in London is DecoTurf, a Massachusetts-based manufacturer that is providing the tennis court surface for the Paralympic Games. The company is a seasoned Olympic provider; it supplied court surfaces during the 2008 Beijing games.
Training with Technology
There are high expectations for the U.S. Olympic swim team, and during preparation, 14 athletes have used Avidasports’ technology to improve their performance. Using sensors on a swimmer’s wrists and ankles, the AvidaMetrics system allows coaches to analyze performance and offer critiques to the athletes in mid-stroke, using high-tech waterproof earpieces.Avidasports says it has receiviedinterest in the technology from 20 institutional swimming programs.
Athletes competing in synchronized swimming also relied on small business manufacturing for training. Clark Synthesis, based in Littleton, Colorado, is the official sound system supplier for the U.S. synchronized swimming team, producing speakers that play music for the athletes’ routine both above water, and with the company’s Aquasonic Underwater Speakers, below as well.
Waving the Flag
Along with their official uniforms, the entire U.S. Olympic team will wear gear produced by Survival Straps, based in Ponte Vedra, Florida. Survival Straps is a 50-employee business supplying officially licensed gear tags, neck I.D. lanyards, key chains, and wristbands bearing the American flag and made with ultra-strong red, white and blue paracord (watch video above). Since sealing the Olympic Committee deal to produce this apparel, the small company is expecting a 20% increase in business. In a show of American generosity, a portion of the company’s Olympic revenue will be donated to support the parathletes, with 10% of overall revenue donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.
The competition begins in earnest on Saturday, July 27, continuing through Sunday, August 12. Tune in to support Team USA and American enterprise.